CYC has been fortunate to have had mentors Robert Donelan and Tina Holsapple involved since 2012. Their mentoring style is unique, although not unfamiliar to CYC. As husband and wife, Robert and Tina co-mentor, and they have had great success in interacting with and creating a close bond with their mentee. Their combined commitment to the mentoring relationship and passion for bettering lives around them have been a great asset to the CYC community, and their exemplary service was recognized with the 2014 CYC Outstanding Mentor Award.
Here, Robert shares his own reflections about how co-mentoring has been a beneficial arrangement for both the mentee and the mentors.
My wife Tina and I did not originally plan to co-mentor. We didn’t realize it was really an option. We started out volunteering with the tutoring program at Quebec Heights. Tina was tutoring a young man named D*, and we both really liked him. The positive experience we were having helped us decide to become mentors for two students, one for each of us. Unfortunately, the young lady Tina was going to mentor decided to drop out of the program. We were disappointed, but then we realized it could be fun to mentor D as a team.
We’ve been mentoring D for about 3 years now, and working as a team has been great. We get to spend quality time with D both individually and as a group. It’s beneficial for D because he has two options when trying to reach someone for support, and Tina has been an invaluable link to D’s mother. As D has matured and developed, it has been helpful to have someone to collaborate with to determine how to best support him. Working together to find the best way to nurture D has even helped us grow as a couple.
Tina and I also each bring different skills and approaches to the table, and our skills complement one another so that D gets the benefit of both. I’ve helped him with his jump shot, and Tina helped him get ready for his first date by teaching him how to open the car door for a woman. I’ve taken D out to drive my car around parking lots, preparing him for his eventual driving test. Tina has him work in the garden with her to learn about plants and earn some money. Then, I take him to the bank to invest half his earnings and learn about saving and investing.
D moved to Dayton, and so our visits have become less frequent. But we still manage to see him about twice a month, and we always talk at least once a week. Sharing in D’s development and his success is more meaningful because we have been a part of it. Co-mentoring has really made D a part of our family and we are honored to see the fine young man he is becoming.
*student’s full name omitted for privacy
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